The Jing An coach gun, imported by Century Arms, is a side-by-side double barrel shotgun with exposed hammers and everything about it is cheap. I don’t mean in the budget-friendly way, I mean cheap. I mean in the Sorny and Magnetbox sense of the word cheap. And I’m not dissing Chinese made products as a whole. I own a smart phone, a TV and some Bruce Lee movies, but what do the Chinese know about American old west firearms?
Jing An: “Mand” in China
Information on Jing An is not the easiest to find. They best I can deduce is that they made a number of different shotguns for import to the U.S., but they stopped about five or six years ago.
The Jing An coach gun is clearly “Mand in China,” as it’s stamped on the barrel, and is available in 12 and 20 gauge. It has exposed hammers, two triggers and a tang safety (on this model that safety didn’t work—thankfully it is stuck in the fire position so at least the shotgun shot). The two triggers have different pulls, the left breaks at about 5 pounds, and the right creeps and creeps and grits and creeps and then breaks at about 10 pounds like it is an old military surplus rifle with 2 inches of cosmoline covering the sear.
The safety feature that did work involved the hammers. The hammers do not touch the exposed firing pins when they are not cocked. So, when the trigger is pulled, from full cock, the hammers hit the firing pins then bounce back and lock about a 1/8 inches off the pins. This safety works well and should keep the gun from an accidental discharge if the hammers are hit in some way.
The barrels are 20 inches and they are marked cylinder choked. This one is a 20 gauge with a 3-inch chamber.
The wood of the stock is of an unknown species. The grain kind of looks like Mahogany, but the color is too light. Besides, Mahogany would be an expensive wood for this gun anyhow.
This Jing An is owned by a friend of mine and he bought it for the purpose of cowboy type shoot outs – The staged shows of Hollywood dressed cowboys firing blanks at each other type stuff. It’s great for that. If it gets dropped when the bank robbers “get” you it’s not a big deal.
I took it out to the range to see what some low brass shells would do. It functioned well. Good solid strikes on the primers which I was curious about because of the safety I discussed above. The pattern was huge at 10 yards with birdshot but that is what most 20 inch barrels will do. The recoil was very light; this thing weighs about 8.5 pounds.
Coach guns get their name from the old smooth-bores stage coach drivers used for protection. Their short barrels made them easier to handle from on top of a wagon. If I were guarding gold on a stage bound for El Paso, I would not carry a Jing An.
However, for around $100 to $150, the Jing An coach gun works. It fires when the triggers are pulled. It would make a good staged shootout type gun like its owner uses it for, and with a trigger job it might do ok with some cowboy action shooting matches, but I’m not sure how long it would hold up to the amount of shooting competition guns require.
Photo credit: Gun Auction and Sam Trisler